The infamous Ku Klux Klan gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia Saturday afternoon to oppose the removal of Confederate general Robert E. Lee’s statue.
According to authorities, over 30 members and supporters of the Loyal White Knights rallied in unity to preserve the countries heritage.
Earlier this year, the Charlottesville City Council voted to remove Lee’s statue, however it remains in the park pending a court decision.
The rally was met with opposition from many organizations, anti-hate groups, and citizens.
The protest had a substantial amount of police coverage, with over 200 officers from multiple law enforcement agencies involved, including the University of Virginia Police and the Virginia State Police.
Their responsibilities ranged from crowd control to escorting Klan members to and from the city’s Justice Park.
Outfitted with riot gear for the rally, authorities were attempting to deter altercations. Despite their efforts, officers used tear gas after protesters refused to disperse as authorities worked to safely move members of the hate group out of the area.
Overall, Police were successful in allowing Klan members to exercise their 1st Amendment rights, and keeping the public safe.
In all, law enforcement made 23 arrests during the rally.
“Today could have been a day of rage and indiscriminate and violent confrontation. Instead, it was a day of prayer, education, testimony, and protest,” said Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer in a Facebook post.
He concluded by writing, “All in all, I believe that we came out of this difficult day stronger than before – more committed to diversity, to racial and social justice, to telling the truth about our history, and to unity. On a very hot day, we made lemonade out of a lemon – from North Carolina, no less.”
- Julien Virgin is a staff writer at CBS Radio Atlanta